Sergio Floccari scored twice as S.S. Lazio sealed top spot in UEFA Europa League Group J with an emphatic away victory against NK Maribor.
Libor Kozák and captain Ştefan Radu put the Italian team two goals to the good before Lazio's No99 got on the scoresheet for the first time. His second, a superb solo effort six minutes after the restart, had the visitors on course to equal their 4-0 victory at the Stadion Ljudski vrt in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League until Tavares' late consolation.
Ederson, scorer of the winner when the teams met on matchday two, was chief architect as the Biancocelesti constructed a three-goal advantage by the break. His first significant act came in the 16th minute with a measured through pass for Kozák, who delicately lifted the ball over the outrushing Jasmin Handanovič.
With Lazio enjoying themselves, Handanovič was soon called upon to deny Ederson the goal his performance deserved. From Hernanes' ensuing corner, however, Radu evaded marker Nejc Potokar at the front post to head in the visitors' second.
Two quickly became three and again Ederson was to the fore, leading a counterattack and teeing up Floccari, who dispatched a low shot across Handanovič. Then, on the cusp of half-time, Goran Cvijanovič briefly gave the home supporters something to cheer with a fierce drive against the crossbar.
Six minutes into the second period, Floccari charged through from halfway and curled in a delightful left-footed shot. The striker, Ederson, Michaël Ciani and Lorik Cana all had opportunities to extend Lazio's lead, but a combination of lax finishing and inspired goalkeeping prevented a fifth. Indeed, it was the Purples who had the last word through Tavares, who twisted inside the challenge of Ciani and bent a shot past Albano Bizzarri.
© 1998-2013 UEFA. All rights reserved.